This article was first published on Dictated News by Jen Stercula
Stress takes a huge toll on health. If you’re like most Americans you find your days chock full of meetings, long commutes and little time to unwind after work. Often, we consider “relaxation” any activity that’s going to help us shutdown.
But why would we want to do that? If your idea of relaxing is a cheeseburger, a couch, and a full DVR folder you might be doing it wrong. You might also be ruining your health. Some not so typical ways to relax can improve your mental and physical health.
You would think that rapid exercise would do opposite than reduce stress. After all, during intense exercise your body is producing the flight or fight drug adrenaline. When you’re sprinting on a treadmill or cycling away in a spin class your whole body becomes and endorphin producing machine. During your workout, your body is in stress. However, after your workout the endorphins released help you sleep and relax. They even help with production of serotonin for reduces anxiety and depression.
Laugh a lot
It truly is the best medicine. Laughing hard at a funny movie or with friends releases happy drugs like dopamine into your system. Not only does it bond you with others, it helps to reduce stress. So, plan a comedy night in your local city. Or watch reruns of your favorite funny show with others who enjoy it. Whatever you do, don’t suppress the urge to laugh.
Sure, it doesn’t sound like fun, but cleaning is just the mindless activity you need to zone out. Imagine how you’ll feel after you hit the grocery store and walk back into your clean house. It just feels better doesn’t it? If you don’t like the idea of picking up a mop, treat yourself and hire someone else to do a massive cleaning. Then take a bubble bath. When the to-do list disappears you’ll feel the stress melting away.
Remember what it was like laying in the grass with your friends and staring up at the clouds? Or playing kick ball in the yard until it got dark? If you don’t, it’s been too long. Set up a hide and seek night with your friends, or if you have children, start playing with them. Don’t go on a 10 mile bike ride, just take a nice peddle around town and wave at your neighbors. Play tag with your dog at the park. Play whichever game reminds you of your childhood and makes you feel carefree.
We’re not talking Zumba here. Your cable provider probably has about 30 channels dedicated to different music genres. Close the blinds, and turn the music up. You don’t have to do it well, and you don’t have to care what others think. In the privacy of your own home it’s all good. Work up a sweat, and get breathless. Get your spouse or your kids involved. Who knows, they might actually like that “vintage” New Kids on the Block that you played a thousand times on repeat as an adolescent.